More Stupid from the South – Jindal Bans Gay Marriage

photo credit: Times-Picayune

Just a few days ago, Louisiana governor Piyush “Bobby” Jindal said “We don’t have a choice, our agencies will comply with the court order” in response to the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage for same-sex couples.  Jindal promised to respect the ruling.

Not a week has past since he made that promise. Jindal’s spokesperson Mike Reed told the press last night that “Jindal has decided Louisiana same-sex couples need to wait for yet another court’s decision,” The Times-Picayune reported late Wednesday night. “Our agencies will follow the Louisiana Constitution until the District Court orders us otherwise.”

Then Jindal signed an executive order giving clerks religious right to not issue marriage licenses. 

The New Civil Rights Movement journalist David Badash says “Jindal’s state-wide ban on recognizing the legally performed marriages in his own state means couples cannot change their names on drivers licenses and other important legal documents, adoptions could be on hold – or at least the names of both parents on birth certificates could be refused – and even death certificates cannot include a same-sex spouse’s name.”

Hey Piyush, guess what? You can play all the legislative games you want but you can’t stop love!

 

 

Transgender Civil Rights

 

 

 

 

 

What an incredible week we just had– the Supreme Court ruled in favor of both affordable health care + marriage equality! As I said in a previous post, I am happy beyond belief that American’s are one step closer to experiencing true equality – however – it seems we still have a far way to go. John Oliver’s popular HBO TV show Last Week Tonight, was particularly poignant in outlining the ways in which we  still demonize + discriminate against LGBT people.

John goes into the many ways in which transgender people face discrimination + hate simply by just being themselves. One interview was with a transgender solider that literally said that serving as a solider in Afghanistan “feels like a vacation because I can truly be myself.” Never thought I’d hear Afghanistan and the words “truly be myself” in the same sentence…  + the fact that this solider feels more comfortable in Afghanistan than in his own country is nothing short of tragic.

Here is a clip of Last Week Tonight in case you missed it. If you don’t have time to watch it, the main takeaway is that we as a nation must lose the labels + educate ourselves + our children on what it means to be LGBT – and here is a simple answer for you: LGBT people are simply people, no different than any other human on this earth. We are all individuals with our unique experience + perspective – therefore differentiation + labels aren’t needed because we are all the same 🙂

 

LGBTQ Workplace Discrimination

I figured I’d wait 24 hours before talking about the sad state of affairs in the majority of states in the union… I didn’t want to bring this up yesterday when Love Won! While I am ecstatic beyond belief that every American is now legally allowed to get married, the fact is 31 states do not have separate protections specifically for sexual orientation + gender identity. This means that it is completely legal for an employer to terminate employment based on a persons sexual orientation or gender identity. Check out this infograpic from Vox that shows the states that have protections for LGBTQ people and those that don’t.

Currently, 19 states ban discrimination based on sexual orientation + gender identity, while only 3 additional states ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. Equal rights activist, Michelangelo Signorile, is so right: Its Not Over!

vox

Of course it is a monumental shift for all American’s to now have the right to marry – it seems the fight for true equality is far from over.  The lack of civil rights laws in the 31 states in the union that do not protect LGBTQ people from workplace discrimination need to be changed. Equal Protection under the law, right?

14th Amendment – Equal Protection: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Where does your state stand? Would love to know your thoughts on this – comment below!

 

Will Ireland be the first country to legalize same-sex marriage?

Tomorrow Irish citizens will vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal. If they vote ‘yes’ on this referendum, Ireland will become the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote.

Early polls indicated over three quarters of the country are in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.

 Photo Credit: Niall Sweeney (tumblr)

 

 

 

Equal Rights Activist Michelangelo Signorile Says: It’s Not Over

As you know I’ve been writing a lot about the discrimination hate-law or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in Indiana and Arkansas lately. So its no surprise that I came cross a new book by  journalist + broadcaster Michelangelo Signorile. The book is entitled It’s Not Over  and Michelangelo makes the case that equal rights for LGBT people is far from over – and the recent strides made in marriage equality do not mean the fight has been won. I believe the nonsense going on in Indiana + Arkansas is a testament that Michelangelo is absolutely right.

Obviously, I agree with Michelangelo that true equality is still far from reach. Recently, an Indiana Pizza parlor called Memories Pizza publicly said it wouldn’t cater same-sex weddings on religious ground, which RFRA now legally allows in Indiana. Undoubtedly there has been a  tremendous backlash directed at the pizza parlor. Everything from negative reviews on Yelp + a Twitter war.  One high school coach was suspended for suggesting the pizza parlor be burned down.

The backlash got so intense, that the family-owned business was forced to close their doors (for now). Which then spawned a GoFundMe campaign for the hateful establishment. The campaign has now raised almost a million dollars. I think the fact that people would financially support such hate and bigotry shows that now more than ever we need to ban together to ensure true equality for every American.

In response to Memories Pizza GoFundMe campaign, Equality House decided to set up its own fundraiser to help raise money for the LGBT community. The program’s “Virtual Pizza” fundraiser on CrowdRise is collecting money for homeless LGBT youth who have been displaced from their homes because of bigotry.  The group has raised more than $40,000 so far. Please visit and donate if you can!

I was lucky enough to be selected to sit and listen to Rosie O’Donnell interview Michelangelo on his new book It’s Not Over last week at SiriusXM. It was an amazing experience and here is a pic for proof 😉

Rosie + Mike Pic